U.S. Professional sports are (almost) back! Mims looks at the leagues' plans
In a little over a month, professional sports will be back and part of our everyday lives again. While this is all dependent on the level of the Covid-19 pandemic, the professional leagues have submitted plans to resume or start their seasons. I want to look at each of them and give a brief assessment of their plan.
The NBA has the best plan in place in theory. The bubble that they plan to create will minimize the contact that players and essential team personnel will have with outsiders. All the games will be in one place with no fans in attendance. They will play 8 regular season games and then start playoff series that will be best of seven. The regular season games will be treated by most teams as a way of fine tuning the rotation and preparing for the post season.
The NHL is still finalizing their plan of what two cities they want to have as bubble cities. They will start with a playoff system that will enable teams to play for seeding before it starts. While it appears the NHL wants to mirror the NBA plan, minus the regular season, they have not given enough information to the public. They seem to be waiting for more Covid-19 data before giving a definitive outline of what they intend to do.
The MLB has finally agreed to playing 60 games with no fans in attendance. While this is a small sample, the league seems intent on offering something at a minimal cost to them. This does give hope to teams that may start out hot and put themselves in the running early. Some of the rule changes such as the Universal DH and placing a runner in scoring position to start an extra inning game will make many games go over the designated betting total.
The NFL has not finalized anything in terms of attendance by fans or travel modifications. As of now they plan to have a season that is reflective of the 2020-2021 schedule. I should note that they have cancelled the Hall of Fame Game. It does not appear that there will be intra-squad practices during preseason. Since Covid levels are increasing in certain states, the concern is that several hot spots will make having a game unfeasible. These states include Texas, Florida, California, and Arizona.
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